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Sleep deprived EEG with sedation - adult

What is a sleep EEG with sedation?

EEG is the abbreviation of electroencephalogram, which is the recording of electrical activity produced by the brain.  It can help the doctor to make a diagnosis.   A sleep EEG is done to enable more information to be obtained than would be from a routine EEG, as brainwave patterns change during sleep and tiredness.  Occasionally medication is given to you to assist you to fall asleep.  This medication is called Melatonin and will be prescribed to you by the doctor who has referred you for the test.  This medication must be brought to the department.  Please do not take the medication whilst at home.

How is it performed?

The appointment will take approximately two and a half hours.  The physiologist will measure your head.  A minimum of 23 leads are then attached to the scalp, next to the eyes, on the shoulders and under the chin using sticky paste.  Once the leads are in place a bandage will be wrapped around your head to secure the discs.  It will take approximately 20-25 minutes to attach all the leads.  You will not feel anything whilst the EEG is being recorded.  A digital video recording will be made during the test to enable the doctor to compare your brainwaves with any movements and behaviour seen at the time.  The recording takes up to 60 minutes.  The lights will be dimmed and you will be asked to lie down on a bed.

How do I prepare for the test?

You need to be sleep for the test, so we ask that the night before the test you only have HALF THE USUAL AMOUNT OF SLEEP.  For example, if you normally sleep for 8 hours, this should be reduced to 4 hours sleep if possible.  This is probably best achieved by keeping to your normal bed time and getting up early so that you have been awake for a number of hours before the appointment.

Please ensure your hair is clean and free from hairspray and oil.

Please ensure you are wearing loose fitting clothes.

It is helpful if you have a good meal prior to the test.

If you are taking medication please continue to take it and bring a list of the medication with you.

You may eat normally prior to the test.

Please do not have a drink containing caffeine on the day of the test.  This includes cola, tea and coffee or stimulant drinks (e.g. Red Bull).

What should you bring to the appointment?

Your doctor will have prescribed a medication for you called Melotonin.  This is a medication which will help you to sleep.  Please bring this medication to the department.  Please DO NOT take the medication whilst you are at home.  The Physiologist will arrange for you to take the medication when you arrive in the department.

Are there any risks?

Melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone which is produced inside the brain.  It is produced at night time to prepare the body for sleep.  You have been given a manmade version of this hormone which is generally well tolerated and at such a low dose side effects are extremely unlikely.

The effect of Melatonin usually lasts for about 2-4 hours, but occasionally you may be drowsy for longer, please do not drive for the rest of the day.


On rare occasions sleep deprivation can make some people‚Äôs attacks more frequent. 


If you have any questions regarding Melatonin or sleep deprivation, please speak to the doctor who referred you for the test.

How long will I have to wait?

You have been given a specific appointment time and patients are usually seen on time.  It is important that you arrive on time.  Please allow plenty of time for parking.

When will I get the results?

the results are sent to the doctor that referred you for the test and are usually available within seven days.

If you have any concerns or questions please speak to a Clinical Physiologist on the number below.


Neurophysiology Department 01422 222976